Modafinil (Provigil)

Discussion in 'Nootropics' started by Guest, Sep 20, 2003.

  1. Guest

    Guest Guest

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    I was browsing another forum when I saw a post from a guy looking for adderall, and someone was saying that Provigil (Modafinil)is better and easier to find.

    I never heard about it.

    If you got info please let me know. Thanks
  2. Guest

    Guest Guest

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    Provigil is a med for people withexcessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) associated with narcolepsy. Its a great upper but aderal is much better. I have a doctor that gives me 100ct 20 mil pills every couple of months....adderall is much easier to get prescription for than Provigil.
  3. julie-clark

    julie-clark Newbie

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    Feb 8, 2004
    is this true that provigil is the same as ritalin? i have read nothing that suggests this and thought ritalin was a triple script while provigil was much easier to get and not classified with the amphetamines. I would love to hear more about adderal if it really works and if anyone who uses street speed has found it effective enough to abstain from them. Provigil is not speed and it may promote wakefullness but sure doesnt give u energy or motivation like speed does and i am desperate to find a legal alternative to my addiction. Its like i have no reason to get out of bed without it, there must be something that can help??
  4. celt

    celt Newbie

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    Mar 2, 2004
    Provigil is classified as aclass '4' stimulant. Meth is rated as a class '1' stimulant.
  5. lolomgwtfbbq

    lolomgwtfbbq Newbie

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    Jan 21, 2005
    I know plenty of people who do Provigil
    recreationally. They take about 3 pills or so to get a somewhat speedy
    effect. One time, she took 15x that, though, and she and her friend
    were tripping balls and feeling quite speedy. It was very fun although
    they snorted waaaay too much that day. It was free though cause
    her mom just kinda gave them all of her provigils and said to dispose
    of them as they wished. Yay bad parenting.</font>
  6. ATM

    ATM Newbie

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    Dec 8, 2005
    Provigil (Modafinil) as a recreational drug

    I'd like to know if anyone has some info about this CNS stimulant.
    SWIM enjoys snorting ritalin, and he's now got his hands on some Modafinil right now, which is a CNS stimulant, like ritalin. However, I read it doesn't induce dopamine release as much as ritalin does.
    I tried snorting some, it tasted weird, but it seems to have some effect in waking you up.
    Anyone with experience?
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2005
  7. ATM

    ATM Newbie

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    Dec 8, 2005
    After having tried it today at work, I can say that 200 mg of Modafinil will cheer you up and will make you work a lot more than usual :)
    Much smoother than any other stimulants, you feel lively, not speeded up. It's a great feeling, apparently.
    But snorting? Forget about it.
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2005
  8. nanobrain

    nanobrain Platinum Member

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    Apr 12, 2005
    from Australia
    absolute shithouse, will keep you awake but comes w/a renal load and if you overdose, all sorts of nasty fx like, um, formication. adrenergics, activate the fight-or-flight, a feeling of mild paranoia throughout.

    absolutely zero recreational potential, but beats having a hot cup of coffee spilled on your lap, i 'spose.

    MDPV, where have you gone?
  9. pharmapsyche

    pharmapsyche AKA Miss Methylene Titanium Member

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    Oct 17, 2005
    Modafinil is a central-nervous-system stimulant used in the treatment of narcolepsy and occasionally in the treatment of depression. Chemically, modafinil is a member of the orexins, which includes the older drug ardifinil. Although I have never tried it, the effects are said to be different than those of the amphetamines. Potential for abuse is low. Modafinil is strictly a wakefulness-promoting agent and does little more than lessen the desire to sleep.
  10. pharmapsyche

    pharmapsyche AKA Miss Methylene Titanium Member

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    Oct 17, 2005
    I would like to try it as well. Many people claim that it gives a nice mood lift. It would be interesting to compare the effects to amphetamine... anyone want to put in their 2 cents?
  11. 788.4

    788.4 Titanium Member

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    Dec 11, 2005
    I pulled some interesting stuff from Wikipedia:

  12. pharmapsyche

    pharmapsyche AKA Miss Methylene Titanium Member

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    Oct 17, 2005
    Wow, that's some interestin' information. OTC modafinil might be an excellent alternative to caffeine for many people. I wonder how it compares to the wakefulness-promoting effects of caffeine...

    Medline provided several citations when I searched "modafinil and caffeine", but this article was one of the most helpful. It said, basically, that caffeine and modafinil were similar in promoting wakefulness during short sleep deprivation episodes. It sounds like modafinil would prove useful as an OTC drug and perhaps even more benificial then caffeine. I would love to sample some modafinil so I could have personal experience to back my hypothesis. I find caffeine to be an effective weapon against fatigue but it is certainly not without side effects. A cup or two of coffee always gets me jittery and gives me a sour stomach.

    source for the medline study:Department of Behavioral Biology, Division of Neuroscience, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, 503 Robert Grant Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20910-7500,
  13. pharmaboy

    pharmaboy Silver Member

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    Feb 8, 2006
    from U.S.A.
    Modafinil is far superior to caffeine in my opinion. It doesnt get you high or anything, you just dont feel any need to sleep. Plus it doesnt have any of the jitteriness that large doses of caffeine can cause.
  14. Cuba

    Cuba Newbie

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    Feb 10, 2006
    from U.S.A.
    Provigil is awesome as a study aid, especially for those who have ADD.

    I took a total of 8 200mg doses within 2 hours to help him complete a last minute paper. He began with 3 pills feeling little effects. After about a half hour, typically when amphs kick in for him, he decided to take 3 more. Consentration was keen but still no effects.

    Hmmm they didn't taste terrible eather so maybe, I thought, chewing would disolve the pill faster and get a desired euphoria.

    Seemed to be slightly more effective but any pleasurable feeling or mood lift ended shortly. After chewing the last pill, I didn't get the mood lift so it was most likely psychological.

    I haven't slept/eaten in 24 hours. Although work was accomplished in time, when you don't have use for the effects, they can be unpleasant.
    SWIM compared the the unwanted effects, after work was completed, to trying to sleep after a night of snorting coke. Body was tired and new it needed replenishing sleep, but mind was wide awake and racing with thoughts.

    In conclusion, Modafinil (Provigil) ISHO beats caffeine, like benz mentioned,
    where you dont get the sour stomach or the jittery leg that wont sit still. (although I did feel a little jumpy when he was very concentrated in his paper and someone would approach him unnoticed) But could also be due to higher dose taken. After effects, such as lack of sleeping and no appitite can be undesired.
  15. oggy

    oggy R.I.P. Silver Member

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    Aug 29, 2005
    36 y/o
    Thats a bit much:O Swim's had 400mg's today never slept last night so testing it out.
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2006
  16. Nagognog2

    Nagognog2 Iridium Member

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    Feb 1, 2005
    Oggy: You are trying to get off of benzodiazepines and opiates. It sounds to me like the absolute worst thing you could do is keep yourself awake and sleepless. Are you trying to give yourself the mother of all nervous breakdowns to compound your current medical condition? Granted - medical care can take awhile to get where you live, but are you trying to get taken to hospital in four-point restraint in the back of an ambulance?

    Get some rest. Good grief!
  17. oggy

    oggy R.I.P. Silver Member

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    Aug 29, 2005
    36 y/o
    Yes Swim say thank you. He had early calls to make at 8am and big forms to fill in today that were important and at 6am in the morning with still no sleep so he thought he might as well stay up and try the Modafinil. He took 200mg's at first and it did seem to motivate him so he started to tidy the house then took the other 200mg to do paperwork. Its now 1.30pm and he's going to get some rest. Will be fine as his mother is here to take care in fact she done all the paper work for me she is the best of mum's. Swim's mum really wants him to get better now and now she understands a lot more about addiction and she is going to call the drugs specialist this afternoon and his GP she knows he really needs help right now and is trying to get the best help for Swim.
  18. old hippie 56

    old hippie 56 Gold Member

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    May 10, 2005
    Provigil works better for driving long distance than other means, safer than amp., not nerving wracking like meth. Was able to sleep after 10hrs non-stop driving.
  19. Richard_smoker

    Richard_smoker Gold Member

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    Sep 19, 2005
    from U.S.A.
    Some of my friends have taken adderall, dexadrine, etc. for ADD/ADHD and they all seem to hate the effect that these drugs invariably take out on your moods, cause "time warps," and forgetfulness where you have energy and work your ass off, only to realize later that either you can't remember what the fuck you've done or worse, you've been barking up the wrong tree for 5 hours.

    For those I know who have tried provigil, they love the effects compared. As was stated earlier, there isn't any "high," but they are wide-awake and able to take care of their daily tasks without all the mood-swings and obscessive-compulsive mannerisms.
  20. breakdown

    breakdown Silver Member

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    Jul 7, 2005
    I have been trying to get his hands on Provigil ever since I sent him this article on it from New Scientist:

    18 February 2006
    Get ready for 24-hour living
    Graham Lawton

    SO MUCH to do, so little time. Between a hectic work schedule and a
    thriving social life, Yves (not his real name), a 31- year-old
    software developer from Seattle, often doesn't have time for a full
    night's sleep. So he swallows something to make sure he doesn't
    need one. "If I take a dose just before I go to bed, I can wake up
    after 4 or 5 hours and feel refreshed," he says. "The alarm goes
    off and I'm like, let's go!"

    Yves is talking about modafinil, a stimulant that since its launch
    seven years ago has acquired a near-mythical reputation for wiring
    you awake without the jitters, euphoria and eventual crash that
    come after caffeine or amphetamines. Yves has been popping
    modafinil on and off for the past three years and says it is
    "tremendously useful". "I find I can be very productive at work,"
    he says. "I'm more organised and more motivated. And it means I can
    go out partying on a Friday night and still go skiing early on
    Saturday morning."

    Modafinil is just the first of a wave of new lifestyle drugs that
    promise to do for sleep what the contraceptive pill did for sex -
    unshackle it from nature. Since time immemorial, humans have
    structured their lives around sleep. In the near future, we will,
    for the first time, be able to significantly structure the way we
    sleep to suit our lifestyles.

    "The more we understand about the body's 24-hour clock the more we
    will be able to override it," says Russell Foster, a circadian
    biologist at Imperial College London. "In 10 to 20 years we'll be
    able to pharmacologically turn sleep off. Mimicking sleep will take
    longer, but I can see it happening." Foster envisages a world where
    it's possible, or even routine, for people to be active for 22
    hours a day and sleep for two. It is not a world that everyone
    likes the sound of. "I think that would be the most hideous thing
    to happen to society," says Neil Stanley, head of sleep research at
    the Human Psychopharmacology Research Unit in the University of
    Surrey, UK. But most sleep researchers agree that it is inevitable.

    If that sounds unlikely, think about what is already here.
    Modafinil has made it possible to have 48 hours of continuous
    wakefulness with few, if any, ill effects. New classes of sleeping
    pills are on the horizon that promise to deliver sleep that is
    deeper and more refreshing than the real thing. Further down the
    line are even more radical interventions - wakefulness promoters
    that can safely abolish sleep for several days at a stretch, and
    sleeping pills that deliver what feels like 8 hours of sleep in
    half the time. Nor is it all about drugs: one research team even
    talks about developing a wearable electrical device that can wake
    your brain up at the flick of a switch.

    To some degree, we are already adept at controlling sleep. Most
    people in full-time work deprive themselves of sleep during the
    week, deliberately or otherwise, and catch up at the weekend. We
    often augment our sleep-suppressing powers with caffeine, nicotine
    or illegal stimulants such as cocaine and amphetamines. We are also
    highly dependent on substances that help us sleep. According to
    some estimates, 75 per cent of adults suffer at least one symptom
    of a sleep problem a few nights a week or more. In 1998, a team
    from the Henry Ford Health Sciences Research Institute in Detroit,
    Michigan, published a study revealing that 13 per cent of adult
    Americans had used alcohol to help them get to sleep in the
    previous year, and 18 per cent had used sleeping pills (Sleep, vol
    21, p 178).

    Despite the enormous resources that we pour into getting good sleep
    and wakefulness when we want them, most of the drugs at our
    disposal are crude instruments at best. The vast majority of
    sleeping pills - known in the business as hypnotics - are simply
    "knockout drops" that put you in a state almost like sleep but
    without its full restorative properties. "Hypnotic-induced sleep is
    better than no sleep, but it isn't natural sleep," says Stanley.
    With their addictive nature, the drugs we use to keep us awake,
    such as coffee and amphetamines, are even worse. In combination
    with our clock-watching lifestyles, these sleep and wake aids are
    driving ever more people into what Foster calls the
    "stimulant-sedative loop" where they need nightly help getting to
    sleep and daily help staying awake.

    Modafinil has changed the rules of the game. The drug is what's
    known as a eugeroic, meaning "good arousal" in Greek. It delivers
    natural-feeling alertness and wakefulness without the powerful
    physical and mental jolt that earlier stimulants delivered. "There
    are no amphetamine-like feelings," says Yves. And as Yves' way of
    taking it shows, being on modafinil doesn't stop you from falling
    asleep if you want to.

    In fact, its effects are so subtle that many users say they don't
    notice anything at all - until they need to. "I wouldn't say it
    makes me feel more alert or less sleepy. It's just that thoughts of
    tiredness don't occur to me," says Yves. "If there's a job at hand
    that I should be doing, I'm focused, but if I'm watching a movie or
    something, there is no effect."

    People who take modafinil for medical reasons usually take just
    enough of the drug in the morning to see them through the day, but
    it also seems to be able to deliver sustained wakefulness - for a
    couple of days at least. "The military has tested sequential
    dosing," says Jeffrey Vaught, president of R&D at Cephalon,
    modafinil's Pennsylvania-based manufacturer. "It works for 48 hours
    or so, but eventually you need to sleep."

    Perhaps the most remarkable thing about modafinil is that users
    don't seem to have to pay back any "sleep debt". Normally, if you
    stayed awake for 48 hours straight you would have to sleep for
    about 16 hours to catch up. Modafinil somehow allows you to catch
    up with only 8 hours or so. Well before Cephalon took an interest
    in the drug, French researchers discovered this effect in cats back
    in the early 1990s (Brain Research, vol 591, p 319), and it has
    since been found to apply to humans too.

    So how does modafinil work? "No one really knows," admits Vaught.
    He says that Cephalon thinks it understands the drug, but is
    keeping the details under wraps. What is clear is that, like other
    stimulant drugs, modafinil prevents nerve cells from reabsorbing
    the excitatory neurotransmitter dopamine once they release it into
    the brain. The difference is that it somehow does so without
    producing the addictive highs and painful crashes associated with
    most stimulants. A number of independent studies suggest that this
    might be because it also interferes with the reuptake of another
    neurotransmitter, noradrenalin.

    However it works, modafinil is proving hugely successful. Since it
    hit the market in 1998, sales have been climbing steadily - from
    $25 million in 1999 to around $575 million in 2005. Cephalon
    insists that the drug is for treating "medical" sleepiness caused
    by diseases such as narcolepsy and sleep apnoea.

    Even so, it's clear that modafinil is becoming a lifestyle drug for
    people like Yves who want off-the-peg wakefulness. "At first I got
    it from a friend, and then I got diagnosed as a narcoleptic
    online," says Yves.

    All the indications are that modafinil is extremely safe. The drug
    can have side effects, most commonly headaches, but up to now there
    have been no severe reactions, says Vaught. In fact, it is hard to
    find anyone with a bad word to say about modafinil, except that
    there may be unseen problems down the line as the drug becomes more
    widely used. "I think it's unlikely that there can be an arousal
    drug with no consequences," says Foster. In the long run, it is
    possible that casual users might have to keep upping their dose to
    get the same effect. Stanley has similar worries. "Is it a
    potential drug of abuse?" he asks. "Will it get street value? We'll

    Cephalon does not seem to be worried. Modafinil's success has
    spurred it to develop a successor, armodafinil. The company is also
    developing other eugeroics - one experimental drug called CEP-16795
    switches off the H3 histamine receptor, which appears to be one of
    the molecular switches that controls the sleep-wake cycle. However,
    Vaught claims that the original will be a tough act to follow.
    "Modafinil is very effective and very safe," he says. "How do you
    beat it?"

    There are ideas as to how. Last year, Sam Deadwyler of Wake Forest
    University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, reported the results
    of an experiment with a drug called CX717. The findings suggest
    that modafinil won't have the field to itself forever.

    Deadwyler kept 11 rhesus monkeys awake for 36 hours, throughout
    which they performed short-term memory and general alertness tests
    (Public Library of Sciences Biology, vol 3, p 299). At that level
    of sleep deprivation, a monkey's performance would normally drop to
    the point where it could barely function at all, but Deadwyler
    found that CX717 had remarkable restorative powers. Monkeys on the
    drug were doing better after 36 hours of continual wakefulness than
    undrugged monkeys after normal sleep. When Deadwyler imaged their
    brains with functional magnetic resonance imaging, (fMRI), he found
    that the drug maintained normal activity even in severely
    sleep-deprived individuals. The results build on those of an
    earlier, small-scale trial on 16 men that found CX717 could largely
    reverse the cognitive decline that comes with 24 hours of sleep
    deprivation (New Scientist, 14 May 2005, p 6).

    Soldiers get high

    CX717 belongs to a class of drugs called ampakines, which subtly
    ramp up brain activity by enhancing the action of its main
    excitatory neurotransmitter, glutamate. Cortex Pharmaceuticals of
    Irvine, California, which developed CX717, originally saw the drug
    as a cognitive booster for people with Alzheimer's, but it is its
    potential to counter the effects of sleep deprivation that is
    attracting the most attention.

    Later this year, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
    (DARPA), based in Arlington, Virginia, will put CX717 through its
    paces as a wakefulness promoter for combat. In an experiment
    designed to mimic the harsh demands of special ops, investigators
    will push 48 volunteers to the limit - four consecutive nights of
    hard work with only 4 hours of recovery sleep in between. "They'll
    go from being tired to exhausted to crashing," says Roger Stoll,
    Cortex's chief executive. For some of them, however, the ordeal
    will be softened by regular doses of CX717. DARPA hopes the drug
    will counteract the sleep deprivation.

    The trial should help answer some outstanding questions about
    CX717's potential. "We don't know yet if it eliminates feelings of
    sleepiness," says Stoll. "The early signs are that people function
    better, their brain is a little more hyped. But we haven't tested
    sleepiness directly." As with modafinil, the evidence suggests that
    people struggle to tell if they're on the drug or not, and that
    hasn't turned out to be much of a problem for modafinil.

    Whatever the outcome of the DARPA trial, CX717 won't be the last
    word on eugeroics. Stoll says Cortex has similar but more powerful
    molecules up its sleeve. Thought they are being developed mainly as
    memory enhancers, some may turn out to be powerful wakefulness
    promoters too. Industry giants GlaxoSmithKline and Eli Lilly have
    ampakine programmes of their own, and at least one other company,
    Arena Pharmaceuticals of San Diego, California, has declared an
    interest in wakefulness promoters, though it hasn't released any
    details of its research.

    When and if those drugs come through, the US military is sure to be
    interested. DARPA is one of the most active players in the drive to
    conquer sleep, setting up and funding much of the basic research on
    wakefulness. The army and air force have research programmes too.

    It's easy to see why DARPA is interested. "We make the assumption
    that soldiers are going to be sleep-deprived," says DARPA
    neuroscientist Amy Kruse, who runs the agency's sleep-deprivation
    research programme. "We want to know what we can do to bring them
    back up to the level they would be at if they had a good night's

    When DARPA talks about sleep deprivation, it really means it.
    Soldiers on special ops sometimes have to be awake, alert and
    active for 72 hours at a stretch with only minimal rest. That's
    like starting work on Monday morning and not stopping until
    Thursday. "Three days, that's when they really start hurting," says

    The military has a long history of using caffeine and amphetamines
    to get its people through. It has now added modafinil to the list,
    and is clearly interested in CX717. And Kruse says she is confident
    that there is lots of room for further improvement.

    Last year, a DARPA-funded team led by Giulio Tononi at the
    University of Wisconsin Madison discovered a strain of fruit flies
    that gets by on just a third the normal amount of sleep. The
    "minisleep" mutant carries a change to a single gene, encoding a
    protein involved in potassium transport across cell membranes.
    Intriguingly, defects in potassium channels are associated with
    reduced sleep in humans, particularly in the autoimmune disease
    Morvan's syndrome, one symptom of which is chronic sleeplessness.
    What that suggests, says Kruse, is that new drugs designed to latch
    onto potassium channels in the brain could radically alter the need
    for sleep. There are also likely to be other molecular targets in
    the brain just waiting to be exploited, she says.

    DARPA is meanwhile pursuing other strategies to conquer sleep
    deprivation. At Yaakov Stern's lab at Columbia University in New
    York, DARPA-funded neuroscientists have used fMRI to image the
    brains of sleep-deprived people, to find out which regions are
    affected when you are very tired. Then they used a transcranial
    magnetic stimulation (TMS) machine - routinely used to switch
    localised brain regions on and off - to switch off those areas and
    see if that reversed the effects.

    "This is all proof of concept," says Stern. "It's hard to imagine a
    sleep deprived pilot using TMS," not least because the machines are
    too bulky to fit in a cockpit. "The next step is to apply TMS
    before or during sleep deprivation to see if it blunts the effect.
    That has more of a shot at a lasting effect." Stern says his team
    is also looking into a new technique called DC brain polarisation,
    which has similar brain-boosting effects to TMS but uses DC current
    instead of magnetism. The beauty of this "poor man's TMS" is that
    the equipment is significantly smaller and cheaper - it could even
    be incorporated into headgear that gives you a jolt of wakefulness
    at the flick of a switch. And then there's always neurofeedback -
    training people to activate the brain regions that get hit by sleep
    deprivation, effectively willing themselves awake.

    The military isn't just interested in wakefulness. It also has a
    keen interest in the other side of the coin. John Caldwell works at
    the US Air Force Research Laboratory in San Antonio, Texas. He has
    spent most of his career testing the effects of stimulants,
    including modafinil, on pilots. "I'm the guy who puts
    sleep-deprived pilots in a plane, gives them drugs and says, did it
    work?" he says. He has also done a handful of studies on sleep aids
    - testing the best way to help night pilots sleep well during the
    day, for example. In recent months Caldwell has become aware that
    there is a quiet revolution going on in sleep medicine. "There's a
    new idea out there," he says. "Drugs that change sleep

    Sleep researchers have known for over 50 years that sleep isn't
    merely a lengthy period of unconsciousness, but consists of several
    different brain states (see Diagram). How those states are put
    together to build a full night's sleep is called sleep

    Catching the slow waves

    In the past, says Caldwell, sleeping pills were designed not to
    mess with sleep architecture, although they generally do,
    suppressing the deepest and most restorative "slow-wave" sleep in
    favour of shallower stage 2 sleep. Now, though, modifying sleep
    architecture is seen as the way forward. There are two new drugs in
    the offing that significantly increase the amount of slow-wave
    sleep. One of them, gaboxadol, made by Merck, is in phase III
    clinical trials and could be on the market next year. To Caldwell
    these drugs hold out the promise of a power nap par excellence.
    "Maybe you can make a short period of sleep more restorative by
    filling it with up with slow-wave sleep," he says.

    Much like modafinil, gaboxadol and the other slow-wave sleep
    promoter - Arena Pharmaceuticals' APD125, currently in phase II -
    are the start of something bigger. For more than 35 years, sleeping
    pills have been a one-trick pony. If you wanted to send someone to
    the land of nod, there was only one way of doing so - targeting the
    neurotransmitter GABA, which is the brain's all-purpose dimmer
    switch. Old-fashioned hypnotics such as barbiturates and
    benzodiazepines work by making neurons more sensitive to the
    soporific effects of GABA. It's also why alcohol makes you sleepy.
    Even the newer, cleaner sleeping pills, such as the market leader
    Ambien, work through the GABA system.

    Manipulating the GABA system is a sure-fire way of putting people
    to sleep, but it has its problems. One is that the brain adapts to
    the drugs, which means that most cannot be taken for more than a
    few days without losing their potency. The effects often linger
    well into the morning, making people feel groggy and hung over.
    Many are also addictive.

    What's more, sleep quality has rarely been considered. "In the past
    we would take a hypnotic and say, does it put you to sleep?," says
    Stanley. "That's a pretty inexact way of dealing with it. In that
    respect, alcohol is a good hypnotic." Now, however, there is a
    recognition that there is much more to sleep than the GABA system.
    Last year the first non-GABA sleeping pill came onto the market -
    the first new class of hypnotic for 35 years. Rozerem, made by
    Japanese firm Takeda, mimics the effects of the sleep-promoting
    hormone melatonin. Nor is it the only one. There are at least three
    other new classes of hypnotic that don't go anywhere near the GABA
    system. And though gaboxadol works through GABA, it hits a type of
    receptor that has never been targeted by drugs before.

    According to Stanley, there is even more scope for improvement. "It
    is possible that pharmaceuticals will allow you a condensed dose of
    sleep," he says, "and we are not that far away from having drugs
    that put you to sleep for a certain length of time." He predicts
    you could soon have tablet combining a hypnotic with an antidote or
    wakefulness promoter designed to give you a precise number of
    hours' sleep. "A 4, 5 or 6-hour pill."

    We seem to be moving inescapably towards a society where sleep and
    wakefulness are available if not on demand then at least on
    request. It's not surprising, then, that many sleep researchers
    have nagging worries about the long-term impact of millions of us
    using drugs to override the natural sleep-wake cycle.

    Stanley believes that drugs like modafinil and CX717 will tempt
    people to overdose on wakefulness at the expense of sleep. "Being
    awake is seen to be attractive," he says. "It's not cool to be
    asleep." Foster has similar worries. "It seems like that technology
    will help us cope with 24/7, but is coping really living?" he asks.
    Others point out that there are likely to be hidden health costs to
    overriding our natural sleep-wake cycles. "Pharmaceuticals cannot
    substitute for normal sleep," says Vaught.

    Still, even the doubters admit that to all intents and purposes we
    are already too far down the road of the 24-hour society to turn
    back. For millions of people, good sleep and productive wakefulness
    are already elusive, night work or nightlife a reality, and the
    "stimulant-sedative" loop all too familiar. As Vaught puts it,
    "We're already there." So why not make it as clean and safe as